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Browse the 1966 Encyclopaedia of New Zealand
Graphic: An Encyclopaedia of New Zealand 1966.


This information was published in 1966 in An Encyclopaedia of New Zealand, edited by A. H. McLintock. It has not been corrected and will not be updated.

Up-to-date information can be found elsewhere in Te Ara.



The Moa Creek Murder

On 28 September 1949 at Moa Creek, Central Otago, the body of a man named William Peter McIntosh, aged 62 years, was found in the wool shed on his property. He was a married man with a grown-up family. According to the evidence given by his wife at the inquest, McIntosh had left the house in the early afternoon of 28 September to work on the farm. Before leaving he told her that he would return in time to listen-in to a radio broadcast of a rugby match beginning at 3 o'clock. He did not return, however, and at about 7 p.m. that evening Mrs McIntosh telephoned a neighbour and told her that her husband was missing. A search was immediately organised and at about 8 p.m. the party found McIntosh's body in his wool shed. It was obvious that he had been murdered as his head had been battered with some implement, presumably an axe belonging to the deceased. The axe, which was not found until some time later, had blood stains on it but they were so faint that it could not be established whether or not the blood was human. Mrs McIntosh told the police that some time after her husband left the house on the afternoon of the murder she heard the gate click and saw a stranger coming to the back door. He asked to be directed to the house of a person who lived in the neighbourhood. But he never appeared there. Intensive investigations by the police disclosed that no stranger had been seen in the locality on the afternoon of the murder nor did the person whom the stranger was seeking have any idea who it could be. The murdered man had no known enemies in the district.

Despite intensive inquiries and the offer by Government of a reward of £500 for information that might lead to the apprehension of the alleged murderer, the police were unable to discover who committed the murder.